The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

Going Above Someone's Head

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As you navigate sales conversations with multiple stakeholders in an organization, understanding the internal, political landscape is critical. One move can make or break your deal. How do you do it without appearing like you’re going around someone or above their head? John Kaplan shares best practices to implement into your approach.

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It's important to understand the political landscape that you're selling into. One wrong move can really turn you off to a potential buyer. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and thank you for joining us for the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller. John Kaplan is here with me today. Hi John, Hi Rachel. Yes, so today we are going to cover a common sales scenario that many salespeople find themselves in, no matter the level of experience. It has to do with going to multiple decision makers in a deal, which we all...

...have to do. You know you need to have many conversations in an organization, but doing so can sometimes be a delicate balance. You don't want to appear as if you're going around someone or going over someone's head. So today I want to talk about this specific type of situation and how to best maneuver it. Rachel, I think this is such a relevant topic today because almost every seller I know is faced with this challenge. It's important to understand the political landscape that you're selling into. One wrong move can really turn you off to a potential buy or, especially if you have an established your relationship and the kind of trust with the buyer that that's expected. Yes, so, John, let's start with why we find ourselves in this situation or why it's needed, and it has to do with making sure that you are having the right conversations within the buying organization. Yeah, I think there's an old adage that says you got to go high, wide and deep inside of counts,...

...and it's even more relevant today. Is really no matter what you're buying, that it just it impacts multiple people, and CIEB an organization, or it should impact multiple people inside of an organization. You've heard US talk before about this concept of an M and a w in an m did, the concept of an MW meaning, you know, just maneuvering yourself in cibe an account, M is and Mary. If you start about where the M starts lower in an organization, goes up high, works its way back down, goes back up high, goes back down low. A W is the exact opposite of that. You Start High, you work your way down, you work your way back up, you work your way back down, and I like that concept of M and W to. Just make sure that we're not, you know, we don't fall prey to single threaded conversations. I see a lot of sellers out there today with single threaded conversations and they really struggle with that. So it's your job as a salesperson to attach yourself to corporate initiatives...

...and not just departmental problems. And the best sellers that I see are the ones that connect the departmental problems to corporate initiatives. And you need to be able to find the biggest business problem that's aligned to the solution you solve. That means you need to get access to economic buyers who have the authority to release discretionary funds, and in order to do that we need to see our technical buyers and lower level influencers as kind of like chauffeur scuber drivers that can take us to open doors to higher runs inside of an organization. Right they can be the people that opens the doors and the other parts of that other parts of the house. Yep, I will say we have some great content on that nmw analogy that John just talked about. You know, whether you start lower and organization and you need to go up the M or you start high you need to go back down. Be Sure to look for the content in the show notes. Fun John. We've all been in that situation where we are dealing with lower level people who are important for us gathering information.

We need to create a great solution for the buyer, but those lower level people can sometimes act as those gatekeepers to economic buyers, higher level decisionmakers. How do you break through? It's a really great question and I think what you really try to do is you connect those lower level people to the bigger business issues and you help them be seen as a hero to the organization. You know, give them the ownership. You don't need the credit, you need the money. So first you have to believe what you do matters. Then get your customer where, the contact that you're calling on, to get emotionally connected to what they do matters. And Rachel, I find that that's really kind of the first step for me. In order to attach yourself to bigger business issues, you first have to believe it. You have to believe what you do matters. And then the most elite sellers I've ever seen,...

...they get others amostly connected to what they do for a living inside these accounts, to bigger business issues, and so they get emotionally connected to what they do matters. And it really, really it's something that's really, really evident to me. When I talk to people, I normally can tell instantly if they believe what they do matters. Yeah, the emotional connection moves people to actions. I'd like to talk a little bit more about that, about those tactics you can use when you need to have a conversation with a higher level person. You need the higher level person's help, but you don't want to be seen as going around your primary contact like say, so what do you do then? Yeah, I think the first thing at the top level you attach yourself to big business issues facing your customers and and you should look at every opportunity that you have, every customer you're calling on, and ask yourself what's the biggest business issue facing them? So and I just write down a little phrase somewhere where you can see it, on your notes or somewhere you...

...can see it on your desk every day. I would write down no business issue, no business and really really get emotionally connected to that. The next thing is you really want to think about connecting the technical requirements to the positive business outcomes. So let me give you just a quick example. Let's say that somebody is working on technical requirements in it for a custom reportal and whatever the solution is, it's around technical requirements, the bits and bites behind the software or the solution or the platform or whatever that organization is trying to provide. Now what you have to do is it you have to sit with yourself for a moment in preparation and you have to think about what's the purpose of that customer portal? Who Cares about that custom reportal? In this case, let's just say it's to increase online sales and get a better cost of sale, to drive revenue more profitably, whatever it is. You sit with that...

...for a moment and even if you're not having those conversations with that technical buyer or technical contact that you have, it doesn't mean that it's not going on. So you have to think about how to connect those two and then you do that by bringing your contacts with you on the journey. A lot of times what I wind up doing is asking really, really good business questions that connect the technical to the business. And many times I find that my technical contacts they'll just say, well, I will you know, I'll be honest with you, I don't really understand the ramifications of the downstream impact of this from the business perspective. You're going to have to talk to somebody else. And I find out, okay, who is that and they give me the name of that somebody else. So the key there as you're asking questions to people that they may not have the answer to, which is powerful, and then they open up and allow you to go to other people inside the company and the ear inexperience sellers. They just do it. They take the opportunity...

...to get away from those people and they're not yet. They don't think about bringing them along the journey. And I remember some specific examples where I've said to people, hey, why don't you set up that conversation, because you need to have the answers to this question too. And so I let them feel the power of getting emotionally connected to what they do technically to the business, and then later on when I provide a solution that brings the technical in the business together. I love writing letters back to the company, like back to the economic buyers, and thanking them for allowing me to call on such great people like this technical person, ABC person, and I give them all the credit. Like I we said earlier, we don't need the credit, we need the money. We need to be successful and I think it's a great way to build technical champions for life. That's great, and I'm curious, as you're speaking, are there instances when you really shouldn't worry about going...

...above something's head or you shouldn't worry about how the other person may perceive it? Yeah, I mean, with all respect and with all humility, at the end of the day, I never let anybody tell me what I'm going to be able to do inside of an account or in an account. I just I never let one person do that in the problem with many people listening today is that you're single threaded inside these accounts. So let's just say we're calling on somebody that either is a technical champion for somebody else somebody else is champion, and just that by therefore, by the definition, there an enemy to you and I don't mean it like they're wailing and gnashing at teeth against you, but they're going to try to block you because they have a more vested interest in somebody else to success. So for me, I never ever let myself be blocked by a single threaded conversation or one person who says that everything goes through me, or would have you. My bother used to tell...

...me if somebody has to tell you about something like you tell me in sports, like back, like you've already been there. And what that translated to me is if you have to tell somebody about your power and influence, it probably means you don't have it. And so I try to never let someone just stop me. So when you believe what you do matters, you know, you get the confidence and conviction to persist and you go find somebody else to talk to. I mean I I've given myself tons of spirit over the years. When I have somebody that's blocking me, I have somebody. Quite frankly, I've had people be extremely rude to me and and I have a choice about who I speak to and where I go, and I just always feel kind of empowered by that. I go find somebody else to talk to. So, in answer to your question, Rachel, with all humility and respect, and I never try to, you know, make anybody feel bad or what have you, but I never let one single threaded conversation dictate my opportunity inside of an account ever. Yeah, that's that's a great point for all of us to remember. John, and you said something about you use...

...this kindpt of being single threaded versus multifreaded in your deal and, as you're talking, one of the things that I was thinking so, if you are multifrent threaded in your deals, that perception of you going around somebody or over somebody's head is minimized because you have a relationship with all the other people. Well, I went and had a conversation with Susie, who's higher than you, because I already have a relationship with her. And when you establish those relationships this the impact of what we're talking about here becomes minimized. I love it and I just want to give few such a great point, Rachel. I just want to give people some spirit today when you're thinking about this is there's almost no situation of anything that you're selling. I don't care if it's widgets, I don't care if it's water, I don't care if it's, you know, aircraft, to to military, I don't care what it is, what end of the spectrum. Very rarely does it not the impact multiple people inside of those accounts. And so when you wake up in the morning you just have to tell yourself, whether I realize it or not, there...

...are multiple buyers, there are multiple influencers inside those accounts. In the more people I talked to, the better I'm going to be able to minimize myself from being, you know, stiff armed, if you will, from one person. And so the minute you're feeling like you got a gatekeeper, you can't move into the account, you can't go past this person. You just got to ask yourself, are you really really maximizing all of your opportunities to talk to multiple people inside an account? That's great, John. Do you have a bottom line to close us out with today? I always have a bottom line, Rachel. So, in recap, you have to believe what you do matters. If you don't believe what you do matters, why should anybody else? So attach yourself to the biggest business issues facing your customers. No business issue, no business and this concept of high, wide and deep will really help you combat getting stuck in the single threaded problem, the single...

...threaded conversation problem. Last thing is be prepared, because you get delegated to those that get sound like so we spend a lot of time talking about getting too higher levels or getting the multiple levels inside of accounts. You better make sure that when you get there you are prepared to speak to the person about what they care about. Nothing is worse than getting an appointment, getting a conversation and then not being welcome back. That's great. Will leave it there. Thank you, John, my pleasure. All right, and thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started.

Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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